HomeNewsBrief30 Buses Burned in Honduras This Year as Result of Extortion
BRIEF

30 Buses Burned in Honduras This Year as Result of Extortion

EXTORTION / 25 AUG 2016 BY LUIS FERNANDO ALONSO EN

More than two dozen buses have been torched so far this year in Honduras, a fiery display of the consequences when numerous gangs earn a significant portion of their revenue by extorting the public transportation sector. 

Jorge Lanza, head of the National Council of Transportation in Honduras, says that at least 30 urban and intercity buses have been burned in 2016. He blamed the burnings on extortion rackets targeting the country's bus companies, reported El Heraldo.

"The attacks against transportation groups are a sign that insecurity in Honduras continues while the authorities remain indifferent," Lanza told El Heraldo.

The most recent bus torching occurred on August 23 in Comayagüela, which along with Tegucigalpa makes up Honduras' Central District. The bus driver and his assistant were reportedly admitted to a local hospital with first and second-degree burns. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The high number of bus burnings is a symptom of the numerous criminal actors involved in extortion of Honduras' transportation sector. Extortion is either the most important or one of the most important sources of income for all of the country's gangs, including the MS13 and Barrio 18 but also smaller groups like the Chirizos. And the transportation industry is especially lucrative; following extensive field research in Honduras last year, InSight Crime estimated a single gang in Tegucigalpa can make up to $2.5 million each year by extorting public transport vehicles. (See InSight Crime graph below)

16-08-25-honduras-gangs-extortion-chart

SEE ALSO: Special Report on Gangs in Honduras

In some instances, several gangs will be extorting a bus driver at the same time. This makes it hard for the drivers to earn a living, much less afford hefty extortion fees, which the gangs euphemistically call "war taxes."  When the fees are not paid, retribution from the gangs is swift, and many bus drivers suffer a worse fate than having their vehicle torched. Sixty-three public transport workers were killed in just the first five months of 2016, according to the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University of Honduras.

Honduras has improved its efforts to combat extortion. The country's anti-extortion force has arrested over 400 people so far this year, and authorities seized a large sum of assets belonging to the MS13 that they say were derived from extortion revenue. But the bus torchings, bus driver deaths and complaints about the government's "indifference" reveal the authorities have yet to rein in extortion of the public transportation sector. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

DRUG POLICY / 19 APR 2016

New details about an alleged hit squad run out of Honduras' National Police headquarters carrying out high profile assassinations for…

EXTORTION / 1 NOV 2018

Citizens in Mexico are extorted once every hour and 15 minutes, underscoring how fundamental this activity is for the country’s…

HONDURAS / 5 NOV 2013

A revealing interview with Honduras' police chief has illustrated the bind the United States finds itself in when fighting the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…